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Ask the NHBF | Furlough and annual leave 

May 22, 2020

Important to note: employees will continue to accrue their annual leave while on furlough.

Employees on furlough can take annual leave. However, employers are required to top up pay to normal 100% levels for any holiday days taken during the furlough period.

What if my employee was on holiday when I furloughed other staff? 

Your employee will be entitled to their usual holiday pay until their booked annual leave comes to an end. They should then be furloughed. 

Not sure how to calculate your employees’ annual leave? NHBF Members can call our friendly membership team who will do the calculations for you: 01234 831965 

What’s new for salons and barbershops? 

The government has introduced emergency legislation which says that employees can carry over up to four weeks’ (20 days for those who are full time) paid statutory annual leave from their current leave year into the next two annual leave years where it was not reasonably practicable to take it in the current leave year as a result of the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. 

This is to ensure that employees who could not take their statutory annual leave due to coronavirus will not lose it. 

Managing the system

What if all my employees want to take annual leave at the same time when we re-open? 

You will need to manage this. First of all, have a joint discussion with your employees about how everyone’s annual leave can be managed to ensure your salon or barbershop business can continue to function properly. 

While it would be better for the sake of good employee relations to come to a shared agreement, you can, if necessary, tell your employees when they can take their annual leave or refuse a request for annual leave (see below). 

Do your best to plan ahead as far as possible so you have a clear picture of all your employees’ planned annual leave dates.   

Always encourage them to take their annual leave entitlement. You are obliged to give your employees the opportunity to take annual leave. Also – ensuring they take the breaks they are entitled to is best for their wellbeing and for your business. 

Can I tell my employees when to take their leave? 

If you wish to instruct employees to take annual leave you can do so by giving notice that is twice the length of the holiday you require them to take (i.e. two weeks’ notice to take a one-week holiday). 

If you are considering giving notice to employees to take annual leave during a period of furlough, consideration should be given to how long you would like to require them to take and the reasonableness of this so as not to affect the relationship of trust and confidence between you and your employee.

You must engage with your workforce and explain your reasons for wanting them to take annual leave, before requiring them to do so. Also – you must consider any restrictions on your employee during furlough that would prevent them from resting, relaxing and enjoying leisure time, which is the fundamental purpose of annual leave.

Always speak to a legal adviser before forcing any holiday periods of longer than one week. NHBF Members can access our 24/7 legal helpline.

Annual leave law: the basics that haven’t changed 

The basics are: 

  • Everyone who is employed in the UK is entitled to paid leave whatever their role or number of hours worked. 
  • Most employees are legally entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year. This means an employee working five days a week in your hair/beauty salon or barbershop would be entitled to at least 28 days’ paid leave, inclusive of bank holidays.
  • Part-year (eg term-time) and zero-hours workers are entitled to paid annual leave.
  • Employers can choose to include bank holidays as part of their employees’ 28 days holiday entitlement.
  • New employees are entitled to annual leave during their probationary period. However, in the first year you can allow your employee to accrue one month’s leave entitlement at a time.
  • Employees retain their annual leave entitlement while they are on maternity leave.
  • An employee’s annual leave entitlement is unaffected if they are off sick.
  • Your employee is entitled to payment in lieu of any untaken leave they have accrued when leaving your employment.


  • Employees will continue to build up their annual leave during furlough.
  • Up to four weeks’ statutory annual leave can be carried over for up to two years (20 days for those who are full time).
  • Extra holiday entitlement over and above the statutory 28 days is not included in this scheme.
  • Take steps to manage your employees’ annual leave.
  • Try to come to an agreement with your employees about how to manage everyone’s annual leave.
  • Make sure you understand all the basics of annual leave law which haven’t changed.